Is the pressure squarely on Lundqvist?

May 11, 2012, by

Sticking with our Henrik Lundqvist theme for today, there was a great discussion on Twitter between Japers Rink and Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post regarding the myth of the playoff goat or playoff underachiever. Fairly or not, Lundqvist (and Alex Ovechkin) have been labeled as playoff losers because both are elite players who have never advanced past the second round. In Lundqvist’s case, this is especially unfair as this is really just the second season he’s really had a team capable of making it past the second round.

Save for the 2006-2007 Rangers that were very capable of making a run (stupid Chris Drury!), Lundqvist has always been the reason why the Rangers made the playoffs. He made a mediocre team a playoff team, and in 2009 carried them to within one win of a major upset of these Washington Capitals. But, the team around him wasn’t a playoff caliber team, and they lost.

Now, this is a Ranger team that is a playoff caliber team. Add Lundqvist to the mix, and he makes them into a team that can make a legitimate run. They are eerily similar to last year’s Boston Bruins, and constructed in the same way as well. But yet in an attempt to sell papers and page views, many ignore the strength (or lack thereof) of these teams, and focus solely on the fact that Lundqvist hasn’t made it past the second round. Color me confused.

The main discussion now is that if the Rangers lose, Lundqvist may be given a permanent “playoff loser” image until he finally wins a Cup. It’s not exactly fair, but that’s how the media runs the show nowadays. Very little thought process, just headlines and irrational scapegoating.

But it does beg the question: Is there pressure on Hank to win? The answer is simple. There is always pressure on Lundqvist to win. He’s the rock in net, he’s the best goalie in the world. Very few of the Capital’s chances have beat him cleanly, and he’s only flubbed one real chance (Game Four – Alex Ovechkin).

It’s unfortunate that people will continue to scapegoat the goaltender if the Rangers lose, especially if he gets beat glove side again. But the fact of the matter here is that the Rangers wouldn’t be here without Lundqvist. This is the first time in five years that he’s had a legitimate contender to work with. The rational fan disregards what he has done without much support because he didn’t have much support.

Now that this team is nearing completion, Lundqvist can be better judged for his playoff performance. Just look at his numbers, this year is different. He’s not a goat, nor should he ever be. But, that said, there is significant pressure on him to not just produce solid numbers. He needs to win.

Categories : Playoffs


  1. Mikeyyy says:

    The real question is will he stay if we don’t win?

    If I were him, I would request a trade if the rangers lose. Why stick around with a club that can’t go the distance…when he could be playing for a “contender”

    • wwpd says:

      because a guy that good looking has to be in new york?

      or LA … but they already have a dude making his own run at the title of Best Goalie in the World. so Hank stays in the city!

    • Mike says:

      The day Hank asks for a trade will be the last day that piece of crap Torts coaches this team. Hank is not going anywhere, let’s win game 7 & move on further, but in case it won’t happen Hank might just do so to get rid of Torts & his dumb overrated system. Hunter already out coached him big time in this series.

      • Vince R says:

        Love the people that just “know” the players hate Torts even though they would go through a wall for him.

        Btw, you still haven’t answered what system you would prefer or provided your logic for saying Hunter has out coached Torts when he is basically using the same “over rated system”.

        Help me out here Milke, I want to hear what your method would be and an explanation on why the system is great when it turns the Caps season around but sucks when it puts the Rangers on top of the Eastern Conference and one game away from the ECQF.

        As far as the players hating Torts, you clearly have not watched 24/7.

  2. Bobby Tux says:

    Since there some many teams in the NHL some of the world best players will never win a Stanley Cup. The list of such players might be endless. Except for the Devils (excluding Kovalchuk) all of the remaining teams have world class players that might win their first Cup.

    In simple terms, with some many teams it is harder to win a Cup and for sure it does not make you a loser.

    • Chris F says:

      Is it tough with Dubinsky sitting out with the injury? Where do you channel all that pent up anger? You must be absolutely seething by now, but fear not, your favorite whipping boy will be back soon, ’til then, try not to beat your wife.

      • Bobby Tux says:

        Why do you choose to make light of a serious topic?

        • Chris F says:

          I’m sorry, your anger management failures are hardly something I should be making light of. You’re right.

  3. Walt says:

    I think Hank thrives on pressure, and will play his heart out. The man hates to lose, and the team will be up for this game 7!

    Hank won’t ever move from the Big Apple, he is in hog heaven here, and just loves the town.

    If the Caps play a poor game defensivly, Holtby will show his real colors, that he isn’t the savior that everyone is trying to make him out to be!!!!!

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    He needs to win this or he remains elite and not legendary. He can not continuously lose to rookie Washington Capitals rookie goaltenders.

  5. Rob sahm says:

    He is the best goalie in the world then its put up or shut up. you cant lose a game 7 on home ice to a rookie goalie c,mon lets do this